Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Discussion of newer designs, copies and reissue offset-waist instruments.
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mbene085
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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by mbene085 » Mon Feb 22, 2021 3:07 pm

alexpigment wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 2:38 pm

It's not that I prefer the dummy coil sound in any notable way. I only started using them when I moved into a location that had a hum problem and I wanted desperately to keep my *existing* sound. I tried various noiseless sets and couldn't get the tone I already had. At any rate, I do understand the science of all this from a fairly basic standpoint. What I'm saying is that I had a toggle, and when the toggle was switched, there was very little tonal difference. That's not really a scientific analysis, but it is what I would call an indisputable statement. This may be related to my pickup choices, pots, positioning, and many other details. Who knows why your experience differed so much.

As for the orientation and placement, I disagree with that fairly wholeheartedly. I know with certainty that the axis is the most important factor (they should both be pointing at the same magnetic direction). The other factors are much, much less important. As you almost certainly know, the middle position on a JM is pretty darn quiet, and the pickups are quite far apart. The strings may sound very different under those two pickup positions, but the hum/interference they pick up should be relatively the same. The same principle certainly applies to normal humbuckers.

More importantly, turning the dummy coil 90 degrees CW/CCW from the orientation of the pickups seems to have very little effect, and is not at all worth the trouble of trying to shoehorn (or route) into a cavity that will not accept them. Fender has known this for years, as they always install the dummy coils in applicable models (certain Strats) along the side of the control knobs, so roughly 45 degrees from the actual pickups in the guitar. My Fender Powerhouse Strat from 98, which came factory with a dummy coil is exactly like this. The guitar is at least as silent as any humbucker guitar I have (and actually more silent in some cases).

In other words, I understand what you're saying from a scientific standpoint, but you'll have to trust that I've done the testing on this, and extensively so, and I think I can speak with some authority that your points are not universally true or relevant in practice. I don't know why your JM sounded so vastly different with a dummy coil, but I ask that you resist the urge to counter these points based on your own less-than-ideal experience, as I believe this information may be very useful to the OP who is asking specifically about Ilitch alternatives.
When I say position, I'm talking about orientation relative to the plane of the existing pickups, not physical proximity. Of course you can move the coil to a cavity, but if it's oriented along a different plane relative to the pickups, you can and will pick up different amounts of hum. Rotating within the plane defined by the existing pickups, like you described, does nothing. We're saying the same thing.

I'm glad you're happy with your dummy coils.

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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by Always-Ben » Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:28 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:28 am
Incidentally I went through the same process, I've had good luck with Ilitch stuff in Telecasters, and wanted it in my Jazzmasters. No luck, like the OP says.

I ended up buying some Kinman pickups just to try them out and I am an immediate convert to that, and that'll likely be my go to for the future. That being said, I also have some Fralin and Wilde noiseless pickups, they are very good also.

I'm done with single coils. The alternatives out there have arrived and are not only good noiseless single coil alternatives but they are just very good pickups in their own way, they now have the dynamic range and frequency response as the pickups they replaced if not the exact same resonant peak/EQ curve.
Which of those noiseless options have the closes resonant peak/EQ curve to Fender's Pure Vintage 65 pickups?

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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by charmonder » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:09 pm

mbene085 wrote:
Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:24 pm

I also disagree strongly with the use of any kind of noise gate being proposed as a solution, because it fundamentally does not work. Noise gates only stop hum when you're not playing, by design. Turn up the gain, play softly, and the gate is doing nothing while the mains hum destroys your SNR.

Pedals and processors that work to reduce hum while you're playing aren't noise gates, though they sometimes additionally include noise gates, and are sometimes mislabeled as noise gates (kinda like the whole Fender Vibrato on amps being tremolo, and Tremolo bridges being vibratos). Noise-reduction processors aimed at canceling mains hum use a couple of tricks, including generating mains hum and phase-shifting it so that it cancels out what the pickups are generating, applying narrow-band EQ, dynamic filtering, etc.

All of those are expensive bandaids, and all come at a certain penalty, tone-wise, though you might be happy to pay that penalty, or might even enjoy the tone more after processing since it's all a matter of taste.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, though, and preventing hum is way more effective than trying to deal with it once it's there.
100% agree with this. The best you can get from a noise gate pedal (proper) is only a clever kill switch. I have the EHX hum canceller, which honestly, it works astonishingly on open chords but around the 7th fret and higher and it could not sound more processed. Its almost charming how it ruins the sound of your lead bits wtih robotic sounding short delay. Both these pedals work fantastically at what they do but it doesn't actually solve the problem better than finding a low noise pickup you like

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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:23 pm

Always-Ben wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:28 pm


Which of those noiseless options have the closes resonant peak/EQ curve to Fender's Pure Vintage 65 pickups?
Sorry, Ben, I would only be speculating. I wish there were frequency response graphs available out there but I'm not aware of any.

The only noiseless pickups in the Jazzmaster format that I have are Kinman Thickmasters, which are wonderful pickups. Kinman makes some pickups that are voiced to be more like the vintage Jazzmaster (the "Surfmasters") and that's what will go in my other Jazzmaster when I get the money together.

I don't know that I would be willing to say how close any of that sounds to the AVRI pickups that the Thickmasters replaced, I can say that I found the Kinman pickups to be excellent pickups in every way in terms of frequency response and dynamic range. But you can imagine that since these pickups cost $500 a set that I'm a little hesitant to talk you into them.

At some point I did A/B the Kinman Thickmasters and some hand wound vintage wind pickups that I have in my other Jazzmaster, and I really liked those Thickmasters a whole lot. I prefer them by a fair margin, but mainly because they are just fantastic pickups and not because they are especially vintage voiced (and they aren't supposed to be, either).

I should mention that I also have a set of Fralin noise cancelling P90s but with the Alnico rods in there, and my boy Mike (mbene above) tells us that these pickups are the exact same as what Fralin would call a noiseless Jazzmaster pickup but in the P90 form factor, and I believe him. I'm also pleased with these pickups, but I will say that they don't "crush" like typical P90s do and I think that they don't particularly sound like Jazzmaster pickups, of course they are in a Gibson Firebird so you wouldn't really expect them to sound the same in there. I think I would like them just fine in a Jazzmaster but my guess is that these would be a little off from the vintage Jazzmaster pickup experience.

Sorry I can't be more specific... this stuff is subjective, and I wish I could back this up with actual resonant peak and EQ curves. I hope you can find a way to hear some sound samples or try them out in some way and I certainly wish you the best with your search.
Back in those days, everyone knew that if you were talking about Destiny's Child, you were talking about Beyonce, LaTavia, LeToya, and Larry.

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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by charmonder » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:31 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:23 pm
Always-Ben wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:28 pm


Which of those noiseless options have the closes resonant peak/EQ curve to Fender's Pure Vintage 65 pickups?
Sorry, Ben, I would only be speculating. I wish there were frequency response graphs available out there but I'm not aware of any.

The only noiseless pickups in the Jazzmaster format that I have are Kinman Thickmasters, which are wonderful pickups. Kinman makes some pickups that are voiced to be more like the vintage Jazzmaster (the "Surfmasters") and that's what will go in my other Jazzmaster when I get the money together.

I don't know that I would be willing to say how close any of that sounds to the AVRI pickups that the Thickmasters replaced, I can say that I found the Kinman pickups to be excellent pickups in every way in terms of frequency response and dynamic range. But you can imagine that since these pickups cost $500 a set that I'm a little hesitant to talk you into them.

At some point I did A/B the Kinman Thickmasters and some hand wound vintage wind pickups that I have in my other Jazzmaster, and I really liked those Thickmasters a whole lot. I prefer them by a fair margin, but mainly because they are just fantastic pickups and not because they are especially vintage voiced (and they aren't supposed to be, either).

I should mention that I also have a set of Fralin noise cancelling P90s but with the Alnico rods in there, and my boy Mike (mbene above) tells us that these pickups are the exact same as what Fralin would call a noiseless Jazzmaster pickup but in the P90 form factor, and I believe him. I'm also pleased with these pickups, but I will say that they don't "crush" like typical P90s do and I think that they don't particularly sound like Jazzmaster pickups, of course they are in a Gibson Firebird so you wouldn't really expect them to sound the same in there. I think I would like them just fine in a Jazzmaster but my guess is that these would be a little off from the vintage Jazzmaster pickup experience.

Sorry I can't be more specific... this stuff is subjective, and I wish I could back this up with actual resonant peak and EQ curves. I hope you can find a way to hear some sound samples or try them out in some way and I certainly wish you the best with your search.
nice I actually just ordered thickmasters yesterday I'm so excited

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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by Larry Mal » Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:47 pm

charmonder wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:31 pm

nice I actually just ordered thickmasters yesterday I'm so excited
I think you will be very pleased. I got one for cheap on eBay, and so I bought another one, and frankly none of this was particularly well researched or thought out. To be honest I didn't expect to win the eBay auction and had forgotten about it.

So I was pretty nervous having them put in, I was feeling like I might have turned my AVRI Jazzmaster into something more like my Les Paul Studio.

All that went away immediately upon hearing them, and after an hour or so of playing them I was just convinced that these were incredible pickups that did everything a pickup is supposed to do very well. At some point I kind of quit caring or even remembering what these sounded like compared to the AVRI pickups, which is why I don't feel confident being able to speak to that very well, unfortunately.
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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by Always-Ben » Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:01 am

charmonder wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:31 pm
Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 6:23 pm
Always-Ben wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:28 pm


Which of those noiseless options have the closes resonant peak/EQ curve to Fender's Pure Vintage 65 pickups?
Sorry, Ben, I would only be speculating. I wish there were frequency response graphs available out there but I'm not aware of any.

The only noiseless pickups in the Jazzmaster format that I have are Kinman Thickmasters, which are wonderful pickups. Kinman makes some pickups that are voiced to be more like the vintage Jazzmaster (the "Surfmasters") and that's what will go in my other Jazzmaster when I get the money together.

I don't know that I would be willing to say how close any of that sounds to the AVRI pickups that the Thickmasters replaced, I can say that I found the Kinman pickups to be excellent pickups in every way in terms of frequency response and dynamic range. But you can imagine that since these pickups cost $500 a set that I'm a little hesitant to talk you into them.

At some point I did A/B the Kinman Thickmasters and some hand wound vintage wind pickups that I have in my other Jazzmaster, and I really liked those Thickmasters a whole lot. I prefer them by a fair margin, but mainly because they are just fantastic pickups and not because they are especially vintage voiced (and they aren't supposed to be, either).

I should mention that I also have a set of Fralin noise cancelling P90s but with the Alnico rods in there, and my boy Mike (mbene above) tells us that these pickups are the exact same as what Fralin would call a noiseless Jazzmaster pickup but in the P90 form factor, and I believe him. I'm also pleased with these pickups, but I will say that they don't "crush" like typical P90s do and I think that they don't particularly sound like Jazzmaster pickups, of course they are in a Gibson Firebird so you wouldn't really expect them to sound the same in there. I think I would like them just fine in a Jazzmaster but my guess is that these would be a little off from the vintage Jazzmaster pickup experience.

Sorry I can't be more specific... this stuff is subjective, and I wish I could back this up with actual resonant peak and EQ curves. I hope you can find a way to hear some sound samples or try them out in some way and I certainly wish you the best with your search.
nice I actually just ordered thickmasters yesterday I'm so excited
Get those Thickmasters in yet?

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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by charmonder » Mon Mar 01, 2021 3:05 pm

Always-Ben wrote:
Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:01 am

Get those Thickmasters in yet?
still in mail, heads up though the final price should be around $360 for a set at the moment

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Re: Ilitch not possible for JM. Now what?

Post by Norrin Radd » Mon Mar 01, 2021 8:41 pm

Larry Mal wrote:
Mon Feb 22, 2021 5:27 am
They taught me in school that the best way to deal with noise is to not have it in the first place. Similar to any other problem, I guess. That's my zen outlook for the day.

From my own experience, I am about to pull an Ilitch system out of a guitar and put some very nice pickups on the block because there is still too much noise: I had forgotten that rule, and I counted on the Ilitch system to mitigate the noise rather than disallowed the noise in the first place.

This isn't a slam on Ilitch, they work well at reducing hum in guitars in which noise can be prevented with very effective shielding.

Again from my experience: I see that noise cancelling pickups are not being considered here, but I've been over all the ground there is trying to preserve "real" vintage sound without noise. I've come to conclude that it's not really worth the effort, single coil form factor pickups without hum are every bit as good as vintage type pickups are now, and they do the important thing of stopping noise in your chain before it happens.

In the future, I won't be bothering with Ilitch stuff or other dummy coils and I'll just be pulling the old noisy kind of pickups out of my guitars and putting in noise free pickups.
Amen to this! After many years I’ve discovered the same. The Novak’s in my JM and the Kinman’s in my Strat are spectacular! The DiMarzios in my other guitars are good as well. Eventually I’d like to have Kinman’s or Novak’s in everything I own. I love single coil tone but hate the hum. And now I CAN have both! 8)

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